Lula’s Next Visit to Pernambuco

At the time of writing, we are still on July 14, 2022. But it is already being announced, as an injection of resistance for all Pernambucans, that Lula is coming, that he is coming back. So we are already waiting for the day, on the 19th in the sertão, on the 20th in Recife.

Lula in Pernambuco is a movie that never stops playing. It is the cinema of Recife, where the people enter the screen and participate in the action. But what films, what epics of political love awaken and pass their presence among us? Do we see Os Companheiros or Eles não usam black-tie? If so, the film would be more related to the story of the worker Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. But I think Lula’s film, which keeps on playing in these dark times, is Charlie Chaplin’s The Great Dictator. And why is that? In the film, Chaplin gives a speech of hope, which projects the end of fascism to crowds who are in anguish and despair:

Even now my voice reaches millions of people around the world, millions of desperate people, men, women, children, victims of a system that makes man torture and imprison innocent people.

To those who can hear me I say, “Do not despair!” The suffering that is among us now is only the passing of greed, the bitterness of men who fear human progress. The men who hate will disappear, the dictators will succumb, and the power they have snatched from the people will return to the people.

You, the people, have the power – the power to create machines, the power to create happiness! You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure.

So – in the name of democracy – let’s use this power, let’s all unite! Let’s fight for a new world, a decent world, which gives men a chance to work, which gives youth a future and old people security.

The Great Dictator may be the movie, because the above words are worthy of Lula and of these hours. But first, in greeting the future president, what collective chant could be sung by the crowd? For the people of Recife, it could and will be a frevo, or frevos. But by whom, Capiba or Nelson Ferreira?

Evocation number one” could be sung in one more of the infinite, necessary and beautiful times.

Or “The wood that doesn’t crunch” that Ariano Suassuna loved to sing at the podium

We don’t have to choose between two beauties. The two frevos fit at different moments. But if there is any doubt, as a point of general pacification, Lula may well be greeted by the immortal Hymn of Pernambuco:

It is history and present. Before, in 2010, when he was in Recife, we heard Lula crying into the microphone. In the audience, thousands of listeners copied him. There, Lula’s speech lasted 33 minutes. About eighty thousand people were at Marco Zero, with emotion and truth in the president’s reunion with the people who love him. And affection and courage and the throbbing of affections are things that stir the nerves even of stones.

That day, if the reporters hadn’t looked at the crowd from a distance, they would have seen within the crowd wheelchair users asking to pass, old ladies leaning on their grandchildren, blind people groping with their canes, young people, many young people, black people, many black people, black in skin and in chest, who listened seriously and with absolute attention to the president who told them, pointing to a boy from the slum who plays the violin: “He, Daniel, just wanted an opportunity.”

In this his return now, in the face of homicides, crimes and fascist siege in Brazil, it is impossible not to remember what Lula said, when he bitterly endured an unjust imprisonment:

I am a dream builder. I dreamed that it was possible for a metalworker, without a diploma, to take care of education more than those with diplomas and competitive examinations took care of education. I dreamed that it was possible to take students from the periphery and put them in the best universities in the country. Soon we will have judges and prosecutors born in the slums, born in the periphery.

Finally, or to put it better, for the time being: for the phenomenon of the existence of the greatest popular leader in Latin America, for his life, the final verses of Morte e Vida Severina by João Cabral de Melo Neto are well suited:

“Ô seu Lula, retirante,
now let me tell you
I don’t really know the answer
to the question I was asking,
if it’s not worth jumping
off the bridge and out of life;
I don’t even know that answer,
if you really want me to tell you
it’s hard to defend,
with words alone, life,
even more when it is
the one you see, Severina
but if I couldn’t answer
to the question I asked,
she, life, answered it
with her living presence.
And there is no better answer
than the spectacle of life:
watching it unravel its thread,
that is also called life,
to see the factory that it itself,
stubbornly manufactures itself,
to see it sprout as it did a moment ago
in new exploded life;
even when it is so small
the explosion, like the one that occurred;
like the one a moment ago, small;
even when it is the explosion
of a Severina life”.

And there is no more we can say.

Uriarano Moto is author of the novel “Never-Ending Youth.”